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Father putting his baby to sleep

4 best practices when preparing for parental leave

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Welcoming a new life into your world—could anything be more exciting? And yet for working parents, the planning process beforehand can be stressful, too. To help make your transition a little bit easier, keep these four tips from Johnson & Johnson in mind. Plus, find out how we go above and beyond to support our employees every step of the way.

Initiate the conversation as early as possible

Babies are joy incarnate, and your team is sure to support you when you break the big news. Secretly, however, that doesn’t mean some coworkers won’t be a tad nervous about shouldering the added workload while you’re gone. So the first step is to approach your manager, and probably have a chat with HR, to get the planning process started as early as possible.

A great manager can make the difference between moms feeling like they can be successful at work and at home, or feeling like they are a burden to their organizations. At Johnson & Johnson, we help new parents by familiarizing ourselves with the resources provided to parents and families. I benefited most from having so many colleagues willing to serve as sounding boards during the transition.
Lauren Carson
HR Leader - Janssen Strategic Customer Group

That’s why, when you check in with HR, it’s a good idea to review the benefits your company provides—and if you have a working spouse or partner, they should do the same at their company, too. That way, you’ll be able to plan and coordinate your childcare efforts.

At Johnson & Johnson, we know how important it is for all new parents—maternal, paternal and adoptive—to take time out from work to welcome their newest additions into their lives. All employees—maternal, paternal, adoptive, surrogacy-assisted or foster parents—get twelve weeks of paid leave that can be taken during the first year of a new child’s arrival into their family.

Explore your daycare options

This might sound premature at first, but later on—especially as you’re preparing to return to work—the last thing you want is to be scrambling to secure this essential support for your newest family member. By thinking through daycare options early in the process, you’ll be able to devote your time away from work entirely to TLC.

At Johnson & Johnson, we make this a little bit easier by offering child care centers at six campuses across the country at a subsidized cost to our employees. And for those employees who work remotely—or in offices where on-site centers are not yet available—we nonetheless help offset the cost of child care by providing discounts through KinderCare, a national child care provider, as well as a number of local providers.

The biggest benefit for me at Johnson & Johnson has been having my daughter in on-site daycare at the Child Development Center. The teachers and the staff are all excellent, and if she’s sick or I want to stop by, it’s just a quick walk across the street.
Katie Molteni Muir
HR Leader, Quality & Compliance Enterprise Functions

With benefits like these, it’s easy to see why Johnson & Johnson has been named to Seramount’s list of 100 Best Companies, which spotlights companies that prioritize the needs of working parents.

Create a transition document

To allay any concerns clients or coworkers might have, it’s best to develop a comprehensive transition document and share it with your manager and team. That way, everyone has access to a “single source of truth” and knows what to expect. Just don’t wait until the last minute to put it all together. This document is going to take time to complete, and you may need to update key details as the date of your departure approaches.

While everyone’s transition document is going to be unique, there are some basic details you should definitely cover.

  • Outline your core responsibilities during a given day or week at work, and identify who on your team will cover for each item while you’re away. Pro tip: Add contextual information and any other insights that will help team members do their best while you’re out.
  • List out any projects you’re involved in, including information about how your responsibilities will be parceled out during your absence and who will be in charge of overseeing each piece.
  • Note any processes that you own, identifying for each who on the team is going to take over while you’re on parental leave.
  • Highlight any clients you work closely with, recording the status of your work together as well as any outstanding needs, projects or requests. Make sure it’s clear who on your team is going to maintain these relationships while you’re out.
  • List your direct reports, if applicable, and include goals or expectations you have for each of them while you’re away, plus who will be supervising and mentoring them in your absence.

You should share this document with coworkers and managers when there are still several months to go before your parental leave. Then, as the big day draws nearer, you can revisit it as a group, ensuring all of the details are filled in and up to date.

Everyone was fully supportive of my time away and welcomed me with open arms when I returned. After being away for four months, the team support I received was really amazing to see. It’s clear that everyone recognizes and respects the importance of the bonding time I spent with my child.
Amanda Ciocci
Manager, People Experience

Set clear ground rules about contacting you

At Johnson & Johnson, we strongly discourage our employees from contacting people on leave. We know you have enough on your mind when you’re welcoming a new member to your family, so work concerns shouldn’t intrude.

However, if there are developments you feel you want to stay in the loop on—say, personnel changes, or the status of an important project—you should put a plan in place with your manager about how, when and on what channels you’ll communicate. Just make sure you’re also setting aside enough time to recuperate, too.

Having the amount of time I did to adjust—physically, mentally and emotionally—was key to me coming back to work feeling healthy and productive.
Mary Catherine Redfern
Senior Executive Search Principal Recruiter, Medical Devices & Vision

Join us today!

At Johnson & Johnson, Our Credo not only articulates our values but guides everything we do, from the great benefits we offer employees to the standards we set for our products and the diverse and inclusive workplace culture that we pride ourselves on.

Ready to accelerate your career with a company that has your back every step of the way? Check out all of the opportunities to join Johnson & Johnson today.

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